Test instruments sample at mega speed

New test instruments are able to take up to 100 million samples of data per second.

New PXI instruments from National Instruments are said to be able to co-ordinate sampling to within a few nanoseconds, with a timing jitter of less than two picoseconds. Resolution is to 14 bits, or 1 part in 16,384. A high resolution digitiser, arbitary waveform generator and digital waveform generator/analyser are built on the company's new Synchronisation and Memory Core (SMC). The SMC delivers a timing and synchronisation engine that can lock instrument modules together through a set of shared clocks and trigger signals. It uses a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) to provide a common, flexible data generation and retrieval engine to the analogue and digital instruments. Engineers can define measurements with analysis routines developed using NI LabView 7 Express icon based graphical development software and a new interactive NI Digital Waveform Editor. This allows engineers to generate complex waveforms and measure high speed signals for long periods of time with the SMC's onboard memory of 512MB, instead of struggling to generate signals in Excel spreadsheets with a 64kbit memory limit. A 100 MS/s arbitary waveform generator has a close in spurious free dynamic range of 91dB. The digital waveform generator/analysers provide programmable voltage levels from -2.0 to 5.5V with 10mV resolution. Engineers can shift their data relative to the onboard clock, critical to account for propagation delays and setup and hold times in devices under test. TS National Instruments Pointers * Sampling rates of 100 million samples per second * Resolution is to 14 bits * Timing jitter said to be less than 2 picoseconds